Hong Kong Braces For “Golden Week” Deluge

Nearly 600,000 Mainlanders Took To Hong Kong For Golden Week In October 2009; Will Blizzards Attract Even More This Month?

Hong Kong's tourism commission is hoping for a good turnout of mainland tourists during this winter's "Golden Week" festival (Photo courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Commission)

Hong Kong's tourism commission is hoping for a good turnout of mainland tourists during this winter's "Golden Week" festival (Photo courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Commission)

From February 13-19, China will celebrate the first of the country’s two annual “Golden Week” festivals. Coinciding with Chinese New Year (February 14), this winter’s festival marks a week of travel, family, celebration and — for some — shopping. For retailers, restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong, it also marks a week of waves of mainland tourists, most of them from nearby Guangdong province, heading over the border.

This year, the Hong Kong Tourism Commission, with the help of government tourism departments and the local travel industry, has drawn up its first “roadmap” to accommodate the tens of thousands of mainlanders who are expected to start showing up within the next few days.

According to a release put out by the Hong Kong Tourism Commission, preparatory measures for the Golden Week Festival have been taken in conjunction with the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration, since the vast majority of mainland tourists in Hong Kong come by way of bus or ferry from Guangdong.

From the release:

To better protect the interests of visitors, the Government and the travel industry will continue to implement various measures to promote “honest and quality tourism” during the Chinese New Year Golden Week. On law enforcement, the Customs and Excise Department will closely co-operate with the police in stepping up inspection of retail shops targeting Mainland group tours. As regards consumer awareness, the Consumer Council will continue to promote the “Shop Smart in Hong Kong” website dedicated for Mainland tourists.The Government and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will distribute pamphlets and publicity material at Visitor Service Centres to enhance visitors’ awareness of their consumer rights and consumption choices in Hong Kong, as well as the Quality Travel Services Scheme.

Although these preparations may sound sterile on paper, they do indicate how important Golden Week Festivals are to the Hong Kong economy. The last Golden Week Festival, which coincided with the celebration of Chinese National Day (October 1), saw nearly 600,000 mainland tourists popping over the border. Next week, we can expect several hundred thousand more to do the same, though the Hong Kong Tourism Commission itself seems loath to count their chickens before they hatch and issue a prediction.

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Culture, Travel